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Tank Clearing Nov 15th, 2007: The tank has reached it's 78 degree operating temperature and the Rena filter is doing a good job clearing the cloudy water. It's not sparkly just yet, but it's getting there. I added a couple of pieces of structure, and tested the water. The PH is right around 8.0 (which I knew, since I have a hot tub I regularly test the water on) and the general hardness is 20 degrees. There is some ammonia in the water (1 mg/L) which will go away when the tank cycles.
Tank Filled Nov 13th, 2007: I rinsed the 130 pounds of gravel, installed a few plastic plants, and set up my Rena XP3 filter, heater, and filled the tank. The water was pretty cloudy from the dust left in the gravel, and the heater started heating the tank from the cool 53 degrees at which tap water comes out of the ground.
Tank Installed Nov 12th, 2007: With the help of a neighbor, I hauled the finished stand and tank upstairs from the garage. I bleached the inside of the tank and rinsed it out, and set the tank and stand in place. I performed a trial fit of the projector screen and it clears!
Stand Construction October 29th-Nov 12th, 2007: I spend a couple weeks on and off building the stand for our new tank. The frame is probably overkill, built out of 2x4s and 1/2" plywood, but it's definitely sturdy. The outside is finished with oak veneer plywood and 1x4 oak trim. I'm an engineer during the day, so I drew the plans up in AutoCAD before beginning construction, so if you want to build this stand, send me an e-mail, I'll send you the plans. The tank was picked up at Terre Quatics on Nov 6th. I also ordered a Rena XP3 Filstar canister filter, a Hydor ETH301 300 watt inline heater, and a Python Products water change setup.
  October 27, 2007: After researching what was available in the used market, I discovered that most people want to sell their stand with the tank. My stand was going to be custom built, since I needed a shelf for my center channel speaker. I also checked getting a tank off the internet, but the shipping kills any savings you might see. So we stopped by our local fish store, Terre Quatics of Champlin, and they sold me a 125 All-Glass aquarium setup, with the glass tops and the lights, for a price I couldn't pass up. The tank would take a week to arrive, which was fine since I still needed to build the stand.
  Fall 2007: After visiting my college roommate in Duluth, who is an avid fishkeeper (he has two very nice tanks set up, and another two, a 135 and a 240 gallon tank, waiting in the garage for when he moves into his new place), I couldn't take it anymore. I had to have a tank. I just had to decide what size. The 18" depth was fixed, now I just had to decide the width and height. I considered a 75 gallon tank, which is 4 feet wide. He advised me to go as big as would fit. I decided the 6 foot wide tank was the correct choice. Depending on the manufacturer, the tank would be 120-135 gallons.
Home Theater Setup Spring 2006: I broke down and finally pulled the trigger on a front projection setup. We installed an Optima HD-72 projector with a 106" motorized Da-Lite screen. The roof above the livingroom has trusses running the same direction as the screen, 24 inches on center. With the wall thickness, the screen wound up 19 1/2 inches in front of the back wall, just the right amount of room for an 18" deep fish tank.
Home Theater Setup Sometime in 2003: We bought a Mitsubishi 48" rear projection HDTV. We really liked the picture, but the "big black box" in the living room got old pretty fast. I hatched the idea to change over to a front projection setup in the future, complete with a screen that disappears into the ceiling when we're not using the TV. I sold Greta on the idea that instead of the big black box in the living room, we could have a nice aquarium.
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Last updated: Sun Mar 9, 2008.
Copyright © Mike vanMeeteren, 2008.